The Vanuatu Electoral Office has prepared a Policy Paper, seeking funding approval for a proposed budget of VT45.5 million to conduct a series of elections. This budget allocation will cover three provincial elections, one municipal election, and a parliamentary By-election in Malekula.
Joe Iati, Principal Electoral Officer (PEO), confirmed the submission of the Policy Paper to the Development Committee of Officials (DCO) for endorsement. Subsequently, it will be presented to the Council of Ministers (COM) for final approval.
PEO Iati clarified that the Malekula Parliamentary By-election stems from a recent court ruling on outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) Assang Sanick. As per the law, there is no specific timeframe for conducting a By-election when a parliamentary seat becomes vacant. However, it mandates that a By-election must take place to fill the vacant seat.
The discretion to determine the appropriate timing for the Malekula By-election lies with the VEC, explained Iati.
The Vanuatu Electoral Office (VEO), functioning as the administrative arm of the VEC, is responsible for preparing the budget. In this context, a policy paper has been prepared to address any unforeseen circumstances, added the PEO.
Aside from the Malekula By-election, other significant elections include the Luganville Municipal Election scheduled for November, a By-election for the Malekula Provincial Government Council, a By-election for the SHEFA Provincial Government Council in the Emau Constituency, and the TAFEA Provincial Government election in the Tanna Constituency.
Once the budget is approved, the VEC will convene to discuss and finalise the dates and logistical arrangements for the upcoming elections.
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